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Cross Study Comparisons

In the United States, nationally representative data on student achievement come primarily from two sources: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as "The Nation's Report Card"—and U.S. participation in international education assessments, including PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS. While the international assessments may appear to have significant similarities with NAEP, each was designed to serve a specific purpose and each is based on a separate and unique framework and set of assessment items. Thus, each gives a somewhat different view of U.S. student performance.

To help readers understand the similarities and differences between the assessments and to help identify what the international education assessments and NAEP each contribute to the overall knowledge base on U.S. student performance in reading, mathematics, and science, NCES provides detailed information on the purposes, target populations, reporting levels, and content assessed through PISA, PIRLS, and TIMSS in comparison to NAEP.

The following comparison reports are available, with the most recent ones listed first:

October 2013Comparison of TIMSS 2011 Items and the NAEP 2011 Framework (2011) PDF (756 KB)
June 2013Comparison of the PIRLS 2011 and NAEP 2011 Fourth-Grade Reading Assessments (2011) PDF (420 KB)
December 2010Comparison of the PISA 2009 and NAEP 2009 Reading Assessments (2010)
PDF (423 KB)
December 2008Comparing TIMSS with NAEP and PISA in Mathematics and Science (2007) PDF (281 KB)
December 2007Comparing PIRLS and PISA with NAEP in Reading, Mathematics, and Science (2007) PDF (231 KB)
May 2006Comparing Mathematics Content in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 Assessments (May 2006)
PDF(1630 KB)
April 2003A Comparison of the NAEP and PIRLS Fourth-Grade Reading Assessments (April 2003) PDF (852 KB)
June 2001A Comparison of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Third International Mathematics and Science Study Repeat (TIMSS-R), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (June 2001) PDF (1231 KB)